Govt schools: Punjab must learn from HP

I read the editorial “State of education. Punjab can learn from Himachal Pradesh” with a tinge of pride. No doubt, the state-run schools in Himachal Pradesh are functionally much better than those in Punjab.

The Himachal schools are free from the twin bane of absenteeism and proxysm among teachers afflicting educational institutions in Punjab. They have been showing fairly good results in various examinations conducted by the State Board of School Education.

The credit for the happy state of affairs must go to the teaching community, imbibed with the traditional work culture of the hill folk and not the so-called educational authorities at the block, district or state level which seem as lackadaisical as their counterparts in Punjab.

The new crop of teachers — voluntary, para teachers, teachers on contract basis and under the Parent-Teacher Association Scheme — pose a serious threat to the academic standards in the educational institutions. One fondly hopes that the powers that be would pause to ponder the consequences of mindless experimentation on the vital front and retrace their steps from the brink of disaster.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)


Will the vultures return?

I was motoring down from Dalhousie to Pathankot on September 29, when in between the little town of Naini Khad and Tunnu Hatti on the Panjab-Himachal border I saw some big birds swooping down over the road and with their heavy wing spread they went gliding majestically down the valley. I knew they were vultures.

Had they returned from the dead? Yes, one of them came and sat above the road where I was parked watching this strange and rare sight. We photographed the one perched above us. When I looked down the road into the valley, I saw a whole venue of vultures atop two trees and a kettle flying down to join them.

I had practically given them up as extinct. When I went to Patti on the Amritsar-Lahore border, a few years ago, I did see just a pair of them, some times. I also saw them on the Amritsar-Jalandhar highway. But since the Karseva wala babas prune every tree very drastically, for wood for their langars, I stopped seeing them as they had no place for a perch or to build their big untidy nests.

More than the Karseva wala baba’s who have spoilt their habitat, it is the veterinary medicine diclofenac, a sodium drug administered to animals, that destroys these marvelous scavengers of nature. The vultures feed on the carcasses of domesticated animals who have heavy doses of diclofenac that destroys the liver and kidneys of these great birds.

If the vultures are back, it could be happy news for the Parsi community. The Zoroastrian faith does not cremate or bury their dead. In Bombay, where the vast majority live, the dead are put atop the Tower of Silence to be eaten by the vultures. With return of the birds the dead of the Parsis will start to be disposed according to their old custom.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised some time back that his government is going to ban this veterinary drug diclofenac sodium which kills our winged friends. It hasn’t been done so far. So if the vultures are showing signs of surviving, could we all persuade the Prime Minister to deliver on his promise and assurance?

SIMRANJIT SINGH MANN, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Quilla Harnam Singh (Fatehgarh Sahib)

Postal facilities

The Department of Posts has introduced various facilities like Speed Post, Express Parcel Post, booking of registered letters and parcels, money orders and western money transfer at the post office counters. The postal life insurance/RPRI premia and telephone bills are also accepted at the counters.

Application forms for B.Ed, HPSSSB, Passport, UPSC and for admission to HPKV Palampur are also being sold. However, the people are generally unaware of these facilities being provided by the department at the post office counters. They have to approach banks and business houses for money transfer and forms facing lot of inconvenience. The Department of Posts should suitably publicise through print and electronic media the various facilities and schemes in public interest.

R.S. HAMDARD, Hamirpur (HP)

Shortage of doctors

I refer to the news-item about doctors’ shortage in field units. Despite this phenomenal shortage, these doctors are providing excellent medical services to the troops whether deployed in the field or during peace.

The government should not stretch the medical services too much and immediately take corrective measure to restore the staffing pattern of 1960 vintage.

One immediate corrective measure to correct the staffing pattern is to stop the release of well-trained short service commissioned medical officers. All desirous SSC medical officers should be given permanent commission.

Lt-Col G. BAHADUR SINGH, Ambala Cantonment



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